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Dancer Pose


Yoga Posture - Dancer Pose

Dancer Pose is a yoga posture full of grace and beauty!

However, despite its tender appeal, this pose packs a powerful punch. The posture offers a wide range of challenges including a test of balance, strength and perhaps most importantly a test of focus and concentration. You will likely discover that all though beautiful, this pose will require determination and a few stumbles along the path to mastering it.

Perhaps one of the most unique qualities of the pose is that it offers a wide selection of levels or variations of deepness. It's possible to achieve deep variations of the posture that will push your balance and flexibility skills, or you can take it easy and keep the pose simple with the help of a wall. Basically, you will find that the pose offers a variation for any level of yoga practice.

The Sanskrit name or translation is Natarajasana. The breakdown for the Sanskrit name is as follows, "Nata" meaning "Dancer", "Raja" meaning "King" and "Asana" meaning "Posture or Pose". You will also hear the pose referred to as Lord Of The Dance Pose. It's also worth noting that a Hindu god named Shiva was also called "Nataraja" while in cosmic dancer form.

If you decide to add Dancer to your yoga practice, you will likely experience frustrations along with great satisfaction during the journey. Dancer Pose will also provide plentiful benefits both on your mat and in your life path.


Benefits Of The Pose:

This pose seems to offer a seemingly limitless array of benefits. The posture requires a combination of focus, balance and certainly strength. This impressive combination of required skills leads straight to a reaping of awesome benefits.

Benefits include strengthening the legs, shoulders and chest. The pose also opens the chest, hips and helps to stretch the shoulders. Each of the mentioned benefits help to increase balance. Improving balance can be a big factor in helping to avoid injuries during yoga, sports, and in our daily lives.

Dancer Pose is also considered a backbend posture and provides several backbend associated benefits including increased spine flexibility and a massage for the kidneys. Better posture can also be a benefit of the pose as you improve spine flexibility, open the chest and pull back the shoulders.

The pose also offers powerful mental and emotional benefits as it can lead to a feeling of grace, accomplishment and power, especially as the student ventures deeper into the advanced variations of the posture.

It's certainly safe to say that this pose is a "Full Body Pose", offering benefits from the ankles all the way up to the shoulders and even into our mind.

Primary Benefits:

Spine Flexibility

Improve Posture

Opens The Chest

Improve Balance

Strengthens The Legs







Prep & Follow Up Poses:

Because this pose encompasses balance, strength and a backbend, there are any number of postures that can help prepare you for the pose. Any yoga backbend pose should be approached with caution and you should follow proper warm up exercises.

Yoga poses that can help you prep for Dancer include Downward Facing Dog Pose, Bow Pose, Camel Pose, Tree Pose, and King Pigeon Pose.

After a backbend pose, its best to follow up the pose with a forward fold to allow for balance within the body. Some poses that would work as follow up postures include Standing Forward Bend Pose, Half Forward Fold Pose and Seated Forward Fold Pose.


Modifications & Cautions:

Several modifications are available to you to help make the pose more accessible.

First, if you're having issues attaining balance during the posture, feel free to place your front hand on a wall or chair to stabilize and find balance. As you grow stronger in the posture you can slowly move away from the wall to avoid it becoming a permanent crutch.

A yoga strap can be used to help you reach your ankle if you're not yet flexible enough to grab the ankle without assistance. Just use the strap as an extension of your hand by wrapping it around the foot and grasping the strap with your hand.

You can adjust the height of your foot and leg to find your comfort level for your current practice.

Avoid this yoga pose if you are experiencing an ankle, leg or lower back injury. Shoulder injuries could also be problematic during this posture. Low blood pressure, dizziness and headaches are also good reasons to avoid Dancer.

Major Tips:

Make sure to warm up properly, this pose uses the entire body and warming up is important, especially for the lower back.

Make sure your knee and toes on your standing leg keep pointing forward.

Do not force the pose deeper, remain in your comfort zone until your body lets you know it's time to go a little further. Think of it as baby steps.

As with many balancing poses, it helps to focus your gaze on a fixed object in the room.

Hip openers and Sun Salutations are a good starting point to warm up.

Don't be afraid to fall, it will happen!




Step-By-Step Instructions:

We will begin by standing in Mountain Pose with your feet together and we'll start the pose by working the left side or leg.

First, allow your weight to move or shift to your left foot.

Being aware of your balance, slowly raise the right foot toward your glutes, reach down with your right hand and grasp the right foot around the inner ankle.

Slowly begin to reach your left arm and hand in a slightly forward direction and above your head, you should allow your left palm to face toward the right.

At this point, it's a good idea to fix your gaze on a non-moving object to help with your balance. Allow yourself to stabilize before moving forward.

Begin to kick or press your right foot into your right hand away from your body and then gently lean your torso forward. Keep your left hand reaching upward and forward with your chest open.

Make sure you maintain the forward pointing direction of your left foot and knee, don't allow the knee or toes to point in a left or right direction.

At this point, you can determine how high you can raise the right leg before feeling uncomfortable.

Keep your gaze focused on the fixed object, hold the pose for a few breaths, slowly lean backward dropping the foot from your hand and placing it back on the earth.